By Bill Bradner, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandDecember 7, 2011
SAN ANTONIO -- The Non-Appropriated Fund open season for flexible spending accounts -- the annual period in which employees can make changes to this benefit -- has been extended through Dec. 28.
Health care and dependent care FSAs allow employees to set aside money before taxes for anticipated medical and child care expenses throughout the year.
For example, if a family pays $400 a month for child care and is in a 15 percent tax bracket, enrolling in the flexible spending plan can save them $50 a month or more than $600 over the course of the year.
"We know employee benefits are integral to our employee's quality of life," said Bob Ramsey, NAF Employee Benefits chief at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, "and we want to give employees every opportunity to ensure they're making the most of what's offered to them."
One concern, Ramsey said, is the statistically small number of NAF employees who have enrolled in our flexible spending accounts program.
"The funds are placed into the account before taxes," Ramsey explained. "For planned or budgeted medical or child care expenses, a few minutes to sign up can result in significant savings."
If an employee plans to spend $5,000 on corrective eye surgery in the coming year, they can set up a flexible spending plan to deduct $416.66 a month over the course of the year. Based on the 15 percent tax bracket, the savings equal $750.
All changes made to an employee's flexible spending account will be effective Jan. 1, 2012. Employees who choose not to participate in the extended Open Season FSA period will be unable to make changes to their FSA benefits until next year's Open Season unless they become eligible due to a qualifying "life event." Examples of such events as defined by the Office of Personnel Management include marriage, divorce, births and deaths.
To learn more about this NAF Benefits Open Season extension, visit NAFBenefits.com.